Changes coming to the aerial image controls

Google often makes changes to Google Maps, which we use in the MODsolar Platform to show the aerial images of the buildings. Generally, these changes improve the functionality for users, making interaction easier.

In August 2016, Google will roll out a new version that eliminates the “pan control.” That control — a circle with 4 “caret” pointers facing north, south, east, and west — can be used to pan the image up, down, left, and right. (A screenshot is shown below, with the pan control in the upper right corner.)

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 2.40.22 PM

Google decided to make the control unavailable because users have another, more “natural” way to pan the image — simply by clicking the mouse, holding it down, and dragging the image in any direction. Thus, the functionality will not be lost (and most users intuitively know that they can pan the image by dragging, already).

HOWEVER — on the Design System step of proposal generation with the MODsolar Platform, we use the “click-and-drag” interface to allow users to select multiple panels and mark them for deletion from the layout. As the user drags the mouse, a red rectangle is drawn, and all panels within the rectangle change from black to red to indicate that they can be deleted. The user then confirms or cancels the deletion. (See screenshot below.)

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 2.47.14 PM

Thus, the elimination of the old pan control would leave users with no way to pan the image on the Design System page!

Fortunately, Google gave us advance notice of this impending change, and we have been working on a solution, so that users have the ability to pan the image, and ALSO mark multiple panels for deletion if they desire.

With the new approach, the Design System page will, by default, respond to click-and-drag the way that all other Google Maps pages respond: clicking and dragging will pan the image. But if a user wants to use click-and-drag to draw a rectangle and delete panels, the user will simply DOUBLE-CLICK the mouse anywhere in the image, to toggle the “mode.” Then, clicking and dragging will NOT pan the image — it will draw a rectangle. To restore the previous mode (for panning), the user will simple DOUBLE-CLICK again. (And remember — you can still mark an individual single panel for deletion, by clicking the panel.)

We’ll be rolling out this new change shortly, so that no functionality is suddenly lost when Google makes their change in August.

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